Friday, 08 January 1999 Washington, DC
1. STAR WARS II: CLINTON BUDGET INCLUDES $7B FOR MISSILE DEFENSE.
Does this end the dispute over deployment of a National Missile
Defense? Not exactly. The money is a set-aside awaiting a 2000
decision on whether to deploy. That decision depends on whether
NMD ever passes a test. So far, NMD has flunked five in a row
and theater defense (THAAD) has done no better. And these are
strapped-down-chicken tests. Deployment should be conditioned on
realistic tests of missiles using countermeasures. This is all
very frustrating for NMD proponents, whose real target is the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Senator Jon Kyle (R-AZ) argues
that no land-based system will do the job anyway. He wants the
defenses on ships offshore. That would score a direct hit on
ABM, by violating the ABM prohibition on mobile defenses.
2HYDRINOS: NEW CHEMISTRY USES PRE-SHRUNK HYDROGEN.
Remember Randy Mill, MD Harvard '86? He pointed out in 1991 that cold
fusion wasn't fusion at all -- it just puts hydrogen atoms into a
state below the ground state, shrinking them into tiny little
things he calls "hydrinos," releasing lots of energy
(WN 26 Apr 91).
WN has been told that Mills' company, BlackLight Power, has
raised a few million from utilities companies, such as PacifiCorp
and Conectiv, and is ready to go prime time. But he wants to
avoid the endless arguments over "excess heat" that plague the
cold fusion guys. So, he plans to reveal the discovery of a class
of novel chemical compounds he calls Hydrino Hydride Compounds
(HHCs) that will revolutionize chemistry and physics. Stay tuned.
3. MAGNETIC THERAPY: STUDY RELIES ON ALTERNATIVE STATISTICS.
According to an Associated Press story, a new study reports that
magnetic insoles lessen foot pain of diabetics. The author was
identified as a neurologist at New York Medical College, but NYMC
says he's "a volunteer" at the College. His office says they're
flooded with calls, but have no copies of the paper and didn't
expect to for "weeks." We'll update you when we get a copy, but
here's what we've learned so far: There were 24 patients with
chronic foot pain from various causes in the study -- except 5
dropped out. Of the 19, 12 (half the original group) reported
some reduction in pain. We don't know how many reported an
increase. Ten of the 19 were diabetics. Of these, nine reported
some pain reduction -- uhh, at the end of four months. The only
other serious study of pain reduction from magnets claimed relief
came in minutes. Take a group of 19, break it into subgroups,
and wait long enough, something's bound to show up. WN awaits
word on whether the insoles had alternating poles
(WN 18 Dec 98).
4. WE APOLOGIZE: RICHARD SCLOVE WAS MISQUOTED.
In his plan to let citizens panels set science priorities
(WN 18 Dec 98),
Sclove proposed that their recommendations be NON-binding. Where do you
suppose a citizens panel would come down on the above items?